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  1. #1
    Plumber jimbo's Avatar
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    Recently came across a couple of "interesting" places:
    1) A plumbing forum strictly....might say viciously... for plumbers only. No DIY. Frankly, they grumble a lot, and don't seem to have a lot of fun!

    2) A place where anyone can ask a question about literally anthing...from cars to legal to plumbing.....and an "expert" will offer to provide an answer....for a FEE! I am almost embarrassed to say that last weekend I paid $9 to find out how to get the power window back up on my Ford Contour. Went down, and stayed down. I was desparate! It only rains one day a year in San Diego, and it looked like Saturday night was going to be that day! Maybe I would have figured it out by myself, but just getting in there was a challenge. He detailed how to get at the motor and remove it...the push the regulator up by hand and wedge a 1X2 under it to hold it up until I can get my mechanic to fix the darn thing. I figure the 9 bucks was well spent. By the way, the forum "suggested" price range was 9 to 30....you offer what you think it is worth, and presumably get a faster or better response with more money! It is an honor system. You offer to pay, but the payment is not committed until you feel the answer is worth it, and accept the answer. You can say no.


    I thought about it, and for 2 reasons, would not want to do the fee thing in the plumbing arena:
    a) This is too much fun!
    b) Who wants the liability that you give someone some advice, he screw it up and floods out a $10,000 harrdwood floor, or his water heater catches fire!

    Anyone else has seen such forums? What do you think?

  2. #2
    In the Trades Gary Swart's Avatar
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    I've seen some for appliance repair and auto repair. May be OK, but I didn't try them.

  3. #3
    Moderator & Master Plumber hj's Avatar
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    If the plumbing forum is the one I think it is, one of its best contributors, at least in his own opionion which is typical of NYC people, and I have had some serious disagreements.

  4. #4
    DIY Senior Member Taylor's Avatar
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    As a DIYer who recently took on more than he could chew, and managed to find a reputable plumber to help out, I have sympathy for the concern about DIY hacks.

    But there are plenty of hack plumbers too, including licensed plumbers. I am thinking of the plumber who worked on this house before I bought it, who is unfortunately dead now so I can't sue his ass for all the problems he left me.

    And just as there are hack plumbers, there are perfectionist DIYers who e.g. wouldn't dream of putting Type M copper in their perfect little houses.

    I think forums like this that allow a dialogue between plumbers and DIYers can serve a useful educational purpose. They can educate DIYers on how to do something right, when something is out of their league, and they can also educate HOers to recognize hack plumbers. I understand of course that there is a line between dispensing advice and giving free consulting. Design of DWV systems seems like a good place to draw that line, if it seems to be getting out of hand. Just be aware that people are probably going to do it anyway, with or without your input.

    I don't think dispensing advice on a forum like this sacrifices business. People who are going to DIY, are doing to do it anyway. Why not help them to do it right, to the extent that it's appropriate and they are willing to listen? If I were a licensed plumber, I wouldn't worry about losing business. This country has a lot of housing stock that is going to be depreciating for the next few decades, I see plenty of business for reputable plumbers. In my area, it's hard enough just getting an estimate from the reputable plumbers, and I stay away from the hacks to the extent that I can. Even when dealing with good plumbers (and electricians and masons and .....), they are sometimes surprised at things I have learned from forums like this. I am not trying to be smart, I just want the job done right, and I can learn a lot from sites like this.

  5. #5
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    I say argue your point with big box stores.
    The monster has been created.

    I firmly believe that the states that do not allow the homeowners to do their own work are in reality burying their heads in the sand.

    Mass. for instance does not allow homeowners to do their own plumbing, electrical, and structural frame work. Do you think that all the sales at big box in Mass. for plumbing, electrical, and framing Items is to licenced contractors? I'll clue you in there isn't a snowballs chance in hell that it all is.

    There is a bunch of illegal uninspected work going on!

    In these forums DIYers come for several types of advice...

    You have the ones that simply want to be informed consumers and want to discuss options and get opinions on fixtures etc. and how things should be done.

    Then you have ones that want to try their hand at minor repairs.

    The ones that want to try their hand at a big project.

    The ones that I worry about are the ones that are trying their hand at the last 2 simply because they lack the money to have it done. They are desperate and will cut corners and cheap out to get by. This is the customer that you never wanted.

    I have seen DIYers take the time to research how to do a job right and put forth a big effort to accomplish a huge job very nicely. These are the guys that usually come up with a nice initial drawing that is essentially okay with minor corrections. They ask what fitting is used where and why. They work to grasp the concepts of venting and how to best run pipes. They post pictures of thier work in process and ask how they are doing. They often do the work, have inspections, and pass on the first try. Those are not a loss. Those are a win. This person isn't going to quit the day job! They probably will be the first person to say to another DIYer, "Thats a big job! You probably want a plumber to do that!" "Do you have any Idea what you are getting into?""It took me 4 months every night and every weekend to do that job on the house I remodeled."

    Simply said... "A man has got to know his limitations." ~ Dirty Harry in Magnum Force.

    BTW I have a Lawyer surcharge in my price schedule! LOL

  6. #6
    Master Plumber Redwood's Avatar
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    Actually I have to say that I get a lot of $$$ From DIYers.
    I work Saturdays and quite often I get calls where they realized that they are over their head and the water is off until its done.

    It's kinda like fishin in a barrel!


    I'm not complaining,,, I manage to do pretty good! Service plumbing is still not bad.
    I see a lot of guys rhat did nothing but residential construction hurting though...
    Last edited by Cookie; 08-06-2008 at 08:46 PM.

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